Gram Panchayat led micro Enterprise Development in India

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Gram Panchyat led micro Enterprise Development 210509


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Gram Panchyat led micro Enterprise Development 210509

  1. 1. Gram Panchayat led micro Enterprise Development in India Jitesh Panda1 Gram Panchayat (GP) is the lowest local self governance unit in rural India. Since early nineties (after the 73rd constitutional amendment), there has been increasing emphasis on involvement of GP in planning and implementation of development schemes. Currently, Gram Panchayat is actively involved in implementation of different development schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and watershed development. Most of the welfare and social security schemes like Public Distribution System (PDS) and old age pension are also implemented through Gram Panchayat. Different Government Departments, Rural Livelihood Projects (RLPs) and in some cases Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), consider GP as unit of planning and implementation. In most parts of the country, Gram Panchayat functionaries are usually consulted while initiating development activities in the Gram Panchayat. Besides implementation of development and welfare schemes, Gram Panchayat has been given authority of leasing Common Property Resources like ponds, river beds, waste lands; licensing to take up different enterprising activities like trading of Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFPs); and also collection of taxes like from local Hats/market yards. Under different schemes, Gram Panchayat is also entrusted to develop enterprise related infrastructures like storage godown, market yards and roads. Over the last two decades, Gram Panchayat has emerged as the centre of development efforts across the country. Most of these activities of GP are either directly or indirectly linked to micro Enterprises. Micro Enterprises play a key role in development process. Existence and growth of micro Enterprises relate to availability of skill and natural resources in a smaller geographical area (like GP); and also purchasing power in the area. Gram Panchayat and micro Enterprises in the GP relate to each other. While micro Enterprises contribute to direct revenue of Gram Panchayat, GP can promote and strengthen the micro Enterprises through different development schemes. However, in reality it is quite different. Activities by Gram Panchayat not necessarily relate to micro Enterprises functioning in the GP. GP is perceived to have very limited role in development of micro Enterprises. However, GP could support development of micro Enterprises through systematic planning and monitoring development schemes which has direct and indirect contribution to growth of micro Enterprises. With focus on decentralized planning process, some of the GPs have initiated development of Micro Plan. Different schemes of Government including NREGS also emphasises on planning at GP level. Most of these plans focus on creation of infrastructures like roads and water harvesting structure in the GPs. Planning for micro development of micro Enterprises could be an integral part of the plan. Local Government functionaries, functionaries of Civil Society Organization (CSO) and community representatives can be involved in the planning process. To start with it can be just listing down on going/planned interventions under different schemes and how they support micro Enterprises in the GP. Further the plan could be monitored at regular intervals. Besides development efforts, GP can also support micro Enterprises from governance point of view. This includes incorporating view point of micro Enterprises in the Gram Panchayat in leasing of common property resources, giving different licenses and in collection of taxes. There is potential to promote GP led micro Enterprise development in India. 1 Vrutti – A Livelihoods Resource Centre, Part of Catalyst Group; 19, 1st Main, 1st Cross, Ashwath Nagar, RMV 2nd Stage, Bangalore 560094, India